HEALTH CARE MEETINGS
They're called 'town hall,' but whose town?
Hmm. So there is no "outside influence" or people being brought in from elsewhere to "participate" in these town hall meetings.
So how is it that a large number of people at Rep. Betty McCollum's town hall refused to give their names or home addresses?
Coincidence? I don't think so.
PAT BELL, EDEN PRAIRIE
Is what I am hearing true? Is the president of the United States asking citizens to spy on their fellow Americans and report those who are giving disinformation about health care reform? Did I hear the president correctly in a speech on Aug. 7, to push twice as hard against those who challenge his policies at town hall meetings?
Is this still America, a country run by laws granted by the Constitution, or are we turning the corner to Nazi Germany of the '30s? An elderly relative at a recent town hall meeting witnessed firsthand intimidation against those who spoke up against health care reform proposals. Does anybody is this country notice the militancy in this administration?
This should not, and cannot, be tolerated in a free society. I challenge people to stand up and be counted for what they believe in. I am not afraid, even with you cowards who send anonymous letters, to be proud to call myself an American and not be bullied by irresponsible tactics of this administration.
TOM KAYE, BLAINE
Coming soon: cash for other kinds of clunkers
So, we are borrowing $3 billion from China to ruin completely functional automobiles. What's next? Intentionally breaking windows and paying people a subsidy to get them fixed?
GARY FISCHBACH, ST. PAUL
Racial profiling is real
Data prove it, if only Kersten will look
Katherine Kersten, in her poorly reasoned column of Aug. 1, claimed that racial profiling is a myth. She argues that, since a larger percentage of African-Americans are convicted of crimes than whites, racial profiling must not exist.
It's productive to examine the verifiable scientific data that Kersten neglected to mention.
The Institute on Race and Poverty and the University of Minnesota compiled a comprehensive statewide report on racial profiling in 2003. Sixty-five different jurisdictions, including Minneapolis, voluntarily participated in this study, in which traffic stops were studied thoroughly for a calendar year. The findings indicated that throughout Minnesota, law enforcement officers stopped African-Americans, Latinos and American Indian drivers at a much greater rate than whites. The study also found that minorities were searched at a much greater rate than white drivers. In Minneapolis, African-Americans were stopped 152 percent more often. Once stopped, they were subjected to searches 52 percent more often. Most critical in debunking Kersten's spurious conclusions, the study found that officers found less contraband in their searches of African-Americans than in searches of whites.
These patterns can only be explained by the conclusion that racial and ethnic bias plays a major role in law enforcement stop activities.
REP . PHYLLIS KAHN, DFL-MINNEAPOLIS
Katherine Kersten says she supports racial profiling, but she doesn't seem to know what it is. It isn't arresting people of color when they commit crimes. That's just law enforcement, and everybody supports it.
Racial profiling is police making people suspects automatically, just based on the color of their skin.
Racial profiling is poor law enforcement. The police might be following the African-American doctor, while the white drug dealer is getting away. In addition they are losing community support for the police in a community where they need it.
Finally, racial profiling contradicts one of America's greatest messages to the world, "equal justice under law."
JOHN STUART, MINNEAPOLIS;
MINNESOTA STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER
Finally an intelligent analysis of the issue of racial profiling. Sgt. James Crowley was doing his job correctly in responding to a reported home break-in. Henry Louis Gates was the one demonstrating racism when he accused the officer of the same and President Obama was acting stupidly when he claimed the police acted stupidly. Kersten corrected the distorted perspective that had developed around the incident.
KEITH BEHNKE, EAGAN
ALL IN A $4,000 DAY'S WORK
Consulting relationships of Medtronic at issue
As a Medtronic stockholder for over 20 years and a Minnesota taxpayer for 37, I'm not sure which bugs me more: Dr. David Polly for charging Medtronic these huge amounts, Medtronic for paying them or the University of Minnesota for condoning it.
BRIAN DUOOS, EDEN PRAIRIE